Comic Book Review: Falcon #1
I love Sam Wilson, but even I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed how Marvel has already stripped him of the title Captain America. In a time where there are some out there who will shamefully say they don’t want to read a book where Captain America is black, you need to show them that their voices are not heard. Regardless, whatever they say, Falcon is still one of the best heroes out there and I’m glad he is still given his spotlight through another book of his own.
This is both a book and a hero we need in a time like this. Falcon answers one of the most important questions you can ask about heroes today. When you rise high enough that all you’re doing is fighting aliens, gods and crazy organizations, where are the heroes that will keep the people on the streets safe? You know, the people who you are fighting to protect in the first place? Even to protect from themselves. This first issue was quick to address what we are to expect from this book moving forward and a more personal story is always welcomed. As Captain America, I do think there was a little too much symbolism going on to really connect with Sam Wilson the way you would like to or the way he connects with other people. It was around the time Ms. Marvel broke away from the Avengers to start the Champions that I was first able to see that Sam as Cap was blinding him to what it meant to genuinely be a hero. Street-level is definitely not a type of hero you want to neglect having out on shelves.
I’m sure there will be some people who turn their nose at this book being progressive and down to Earth about street corruption, but I’ll take a real representation any day than blissful ignorance. Rodney Barnes was the right choice as a writer of color for someone who can go to those places without feeling as though there is a need to censor word choice. This book felt like it was written for someone like me to appreciate. Hopefully plenty of others who are opening their minds to what it is like to reach for a goal that may seem unattainable just based on your skin color. It was also moving to see what happens when you try to fight against gang violence without being quick to throw punches. The strength in Falcon’s dialogue came from his ability to speak from some place that is relatable. It takes a hero who has been there and able to communicate on a level that even those raised on violence can understand.
The plot has a solid build up to realizing what we are dealing with. While everything with the gangs and what not was engaging, there was still the question of how a villain like Blackheart would it into this. The execution of this reveal was brutal, but the right moment to make the statement that what Falcon and The Patriot are fighting for will be easier said than done.
There was one thing that quickly caught my attention before picking up this issue that I liked. That was knowing The Patriot would be a part of this story as Falcon’s new partner. This was a young hero I found myself very disappointed in how he was forgotten when the Young Avengers first disbanded. This was clearly a hero with potential and something to prove with connections to Captain America through the super solider program. With that said, his dynamic with Sam was sincere and exactly what Sam needed during these times. More so when you have two black heroes that share a common goal for themselves and for others who need to rise to the occasion.
I must say that I am digging the new costume designs for both Falcon and The Patriot. This was the first thing I took notice of from the art team and it was a good attempt at advanced suits that stick to what is familiar about these heroes. For a book like Falcon, you might flip it open maybe looking forward to something a bit more stylized, but what you got is actually more preferred. Joshua Cassara has an art style that is grounded, which is fitting for the kind of story that this is. Cassara doesn’t skip a beat capturing the gang member and the city around them. It is important to make sure that you are fully engaged in this city that Falcon is fighting for which they do through full renderings of the settings in each panel. Nothing over the top either, or even overpowering from the colors of Rachelle Rosenberg. Her colors were natural and at the same time had depth to it. When it came to Falcon’s costumes, she did very well handling the detail brought out through the primary black. It also goes without saying that they have quite the terrifying design for Blackheart.
Falcon #1 and as a series serves as the best follow-up to the disaster that was Captain America working for HYDRA. This is not the book to sleep on if you want a story with heart to it. The whole HYDRA event didn’t stick with me, but when you take the perspective of someone who is affected as a fried to Steve, of someone who is seen as stained by that association, even to his own people, a story like that may have been worth it. We couldn’t get to where we are with Falcon getting back to basics without that nightmare.